On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, dozens of people across South Florida participated in "wheels up, guns down" events, which are meant to show there are better things to do than crime. Dirt bikes and ATVs sped through the area. Police handed out traffic tickets, arrested more than a dozen people, and seized ATVs, which are not supposed to be driven on city streets. In Brickell, one confrontation took a terrifying turn.
Video captured by a member of the Dream Defenders, a Florida civil rights group formed near the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement, shows a white woman screaming at young African-Americans, who appear to be in their teens or younger, participating in the event on bicycles.
The woman yells that one boy "ran over my foot"; then a man carrying a gun gets out of his SUV. He approaches menacingly and calls the kids "dumb-ass fucking "n*****s."
BREAKING: Miami teens participating in annual #BikesUpGunsDown event assaulted and threatened with a gun in the Brickell Avenue area of Miami today. Captured by one of our members. pic.twitter.com/Hxtscb52PK— Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) January 22, 2019
The Miami Police Department did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment about the confrontation.
The situation became tense when the bicycle riders, who could not be immediately identified, stopped traffic on the Brickell Avenue Bridge. They said they were protesting a development project in Liberty Square, a public housing complex.
New Times contacted the Dream Defenders about the video. The member who filmed the footage asked not to be identified. In another video, taken after the confrontation, he explained, “These kids are about to lose their housing." One of the bicycle riders was 11 years old, the anonymous Dream Defenders member added.
Still receiving details. The earlier video was the *second* time she got out of the car to harass the teenagers. pic.twitter.com/lif03bR3SY— Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) January 22, 2019
In one video taken before the confrontation, the woman can be seen pleading with the protesters to move their bikes. "I have kids I need to pick up. This isn't funny. Please move your bikes," she says.
In a second video, which was widely circulated on social media, the white woman screams as she approaches a young black man. She yells, "Don't touch me," and the teen responds that he never touched her. He can be seen backing away from her as she approaches.
Then another young man pulls up on a bike. The woman screams, "You just ran over me!" and shoves him, though
The woman screams at him repeatedly that he ran over her foot. The teen denies it.
"You just touched me, you bunch of thugs," she says as she finally begins to walk away, while several of the kids curse at her.
As she walks away, a white man wearing a pink T-shirt and holding a handgun at his side runs up. Some of the teenagers scream and run away.
"Who did it?" the man asks.
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"That guy in the red," the woman says, pointing
"Get the fuck out of here!" the man yells as he confronts the teens.
"You fucking losers. You fucking stupid n*****s. You're all fucking dumb-ass fucking n*****s," he says while he paces around the group. Even as he finally walks away, he continues to call the kids the N-word.
Update: Dream Defenders posted at 10 p.m. that a 51-year-old man was arrested and charged with carrying a concealed firearm, a felony. An arrest report from the Miami Police Department identifies the man as Mark Allen Bartlett. On Instagram, Miami Commissioner Keon Hardemon said Bartlett should be hit with more serious charges. “Assault with a deadly weapon and calling them n——rs sounds like a hate crime to me,” he wrote.